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Смерть Ивана Ильича

Смерть Ивана Ильича

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Смерть Ивана Ильича

оценки:
4/5 (13 оценки)
Длина:
96 страниц
1 час
Издатель:
Издано:
15 окт. 2014 г.
ISBN:
9781910558836
Формат:

Описание

Автор обрисовывает историю приличной и приятной жизни своего героя, вершиной которой стало приобретение им прелестной квартирки, обставленной в комильфотном стиле. Пытаясь показать обойщику, как следует вешать гардины, Иван Ильич упал с лесенки. Это падение стало началом его болезни, дававшей на первых порах знать себя тупой болью в боку. Со временем она переросла в неумолимый телесный распад.
Издатель:
Издано:
15 окт. 2014 г.
ISBN:
9781910558836
Формат:

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Смерть Ивана Ильича - Лев Толстой

XII

I

В большом здании судебных учреждений во время перерыва заседания по делу Мельвинских члены и прокурор сошлись в кабинете Ивана Егоровича Шебек, и зашел разговор о знаменитом красовском деле. Федор Васильевич разгорячился, доказывая неподсудность, Иван Егорович стоял на своем, Петр же Иванович, не вступив сначала в спор, не принимал в нем участия и просматривал только что поданные Ведомости.

— Господа! — сказал он,— Иван Ильич-то умер.

— Неужели?

— Вот, читайте,— сказал он Федору Васильевичу, подавая ему свежий, пахучий еще номер.

В черном ободке было напечатано: «Прасковья Федоровна Головина с душевным прискорбием извещает родных и знакомых о кончине возлюбленного супруга своего, члена Судебной палаты, Ивана Ильича Головина, последовавшей 4-го февраля сего 1882 года. Вынос тела в пятницу, в 1 час пополудни».

Иван Ильич был сотоварищ собравшихся господ, и все любили его. Он болел уже несколько недель; говорили, что болезнь его неизлечима. Место оставалось за ним, но было соображение о том, что в случае его смерти Алексеев может быть назначен на его место, на место же Алексеева — или Винников, или Штабель. Так что, услыхав о смерти Ивана Ильича, первая мысль каждого из господ, собравшихся в кабинете, была о том, какое значение может иметь эта смерть на перемещения или повышения самих членов или их знакомых.

«Теперь, наверно, получу место Штабеля или Винникова,— подумал Федор Васильевич. — Мне это и давно обещано, а это повышение составляет для меня восемьсот рублей прибавки, кроме канцелярии».

«Надо будет попросить теперь о переводе шурина из Калуги,— подумал Петр Иванович. — Жена будет очень рада. Теперь уж нельзя будет говорить, что я никогда ничего не сделал для ее родных».

— Я так и думал, что ему не подняться,— вслух сказал Петр Иванович. — Жалко.

— Да что у него, собственно, было?

— Доктора не могли определить. То есть определяли, но различно. Когда я видел его последний раз, мне казалось, что он поправится.

— А я так и не был у него с самых праздников. Все собирался.

— Что, у него было состояние?

— Кажется, что-то очень небольшое у жены. Но что-то ничтожное.

— Да, надо будет поехать. Ужасно далеко жили они.

— То есть от вас далеко. От вас всё далеко.

— Вот не может мне простить, что я живу за рекой,— улыбаясь на Шебека, сказал Петр Иванович. И заговорили о дальности городских расстояний, и пошли в заседание.

Кроме вызванных этой смертью в каждом соображений о перемещениях и возможных изменениях по службе, могущих последовать от этой смерти, самый факт смерти близкого знакомого вызвал во всех, узнавших про нее, как всегда, чувство радости о том, что умер он, а не я.

«Каково, умер; а я вот нет»,— подумал или почувствовал каждый. Близкие же знакомые, так называемые друзья Ивана Ильича, при этом подумали невольно и о том, что теперь им надобно исполнить очень скучные обязанности приличия и поехать на панихиду и к вдове с визитом соболезнования.

Ближе всех были Федор Васильевич и Петр Иванович.

Петр Иванович был товарищем по училищу правоведения и считал себя обязанным Иваном Ильичом.

Передав за обедом жене известие о смерти Ивана Ильича и соображения о возможности перевода шурина в их округ, Петр Иванович, не ложась отдыхать, надел фрак и поехал к Ивану Ильичу.

У подъезда квартиры Ивана Ильича стояла карета и два извозчика. Внизу, в передней у вешалки прислонена была к стене глазетовая крышка гроба с кисточками и начищенным порошком галуном. Две дамы в черном снимали шубки. Одна, сестра Ивана Ильича, знакомая, другая — незнакомая дама. Товарищ Петра Ивановича, Шварц, сходил сверху и, с верхней ступени увидав входившего, остановился и подмигнул ему, как бы говоря: «Глупо распорядился Иван Ильич; то ли дело мы с вами».

Лицо Шварца с английскими бакенбардами и вся худая фигура во фраке имела, как всегда, изящную торжественность, и эта торжественность, всегда противоречащая характеру игривости Шварца, здесь имела особенную соль. Так подумал Петр Иванович.

Петр Иванович пропустил вперед себя дам и медленно пошел за ними на лестницу. Шварц не стал сходить, а остановился наверху. Петр Иванович понял зачем: он, очевидно, хотел сговориться, где повинтить нынче. Дамы прошли на лестницу к вдове, а Шварц, с серьезно сложенными, крепкими губами и игривым взглядом, движением бровей показал Петру Ивановичу направо, в комнату мертвеца.

Петр Иванович вошел, как всегда это бывает, с недоумением о том, что ему там надо будет делать. Одно он знал, что креститься в этих случаях никогда не мешает. Насчет того, что нужно ли при этом и кланяться, он не совсем был уверен и потому выбрал среднее: войдя в комнату, он стал креститься и немножко как будто кланяться. Насколько ему позволяли движения рук и головы, он вместе с тем оглядывал комнату. Два молодые человека, один гимназист, кажется, племянники, крестясь, выходили из комнаты. Старушка стояла неподвижно. И дама с странно поднятыми бровями что-то ей говорила шепотом. Дьячок в сюртуке, бодрый, решительный, читал что-то громко с выражением, исключающим всякое противоречие; буфетный мужик Герасим, пройдя перед Петром Ивановичем легкими шагами, что-то посыпал по полу. Увидав это, Петр Иванович тотчас же почувствовал легкий запах разлагающегося трупа. В последнее свое посещение Ивана Ильича Петр Иванович видел этого мужика в кабинете; он исполнял должность сиделки, и Иван Ильич особенно любил его. Петр Иванович все крестился и слегка кланялся по серединному направлению между гробом, дьячком и образами на столе в углу. Потом, когда это движение крещения рукою показалось ему уже слишком продолжительно, он приостановился и стал разглядывать мертвеца.

Мертвец лежал, как всегда лежат мертвецы, особенно тяжело, по-мертвецки, утонувши окоченевшими членами в подстилке гроба, с навсегда согнувшеюся головой на

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Что люди думают о Смерть Ивана Ильича

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  • (4/5)
    The subject of this short classic is the process of dying and finally, acceptance of death. It's a look into the mind of a dying man who had lived an ordinary life as a high-court judge, had a family and friends, and had not given much thought about dying some day. After being ill for a long time, he realizes that he will never get well again and uses the time to reflect and question how well he lived his life. Was it meaningful? He struggles with redemption and forgiveness as all of us would in his situation.I felt it was depressing about Ivan's agonizing end. The novel was written in 1886 and was easy to read. Leo Tolstoy put lots of meaning into a short novel and gave me plenty to think about.
  • (4/5)
    Bought and read this book over the weekend in Montreal. I was really enchanted by the portrayal of Ivan's decline and death, being so detailed. I really empathize with his struggle to understand death as a thing that truly applies to / effects him. The descriptive quality (as noted by many other readers) of Tolstoy's prose was readily apparent, and I enjoyed it immensely. For sure, this is one that begs to be re-read. I'm especially interested in revisiting the 1st chapter, which is from the perspective of his "friends" who, greedy for his social position, callously snub his funeral and bereaved wife. Highly recommended for those interested in getting into Russian lit since it is so short and sweet.
  • (4/5)
    This novella opens with a scene reminiscent of the one shown to Scrooge by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come: Ivan Ilyich has died, and his friends, colleagues, and relations gather for the funeral, but also to advance their own interests. Who will be promoted into his old position? Can his wife wrangle a better pension out of the government? And the weekly card game will go on as scheduled, won’t it? The reader then gets a survey of Ivan’s life, from school days, to married life, through career advancements, and through the illness that eventually leads to his death. There’s a lot of focus on the big questions: why death, and why pain? Did Ivan lead the life he was meant to lead? What if he got it all wrong?One gets the sense that Tolstoy was working through his thoughts on these matters. It would be silly to say that I “enjoyed” this book, but I appreciated it (though, when it comes to the Russians, I’ll take Dostoyevsky over Tolstoy any day). It’s a big subject for such a small volume; I’m glad I finally read it, though I probably won’t read it again.
  • (4/5)
    The book is nothing more about than the life and death of an ordinary everyday man but Tolstoy was able to write this almost like a poem, beautifully and emotionally.
  • (5/5)
    Wonderful from the start, where a colleague goes to the main character's funeral out of a sense of duty and the small inner dialogues and inner calculations that go on about Iván Ilyich's death, back through the (rather vapid) life of Ivan.Wonderful writing.
  • (4/5)
    An excellent, soulful book in the vein of The Trial, and Crime and Punishment. Vladimir Nabokov sums my views of this Novella quite well.In his lectures on Russian Literature Russian born Novelist and critic Vladimir Nabokov argues that, for Tolstoy, a sinful life is (such as Ivan's was), moral death. Therefore death, the return of the soul to God is, for Tolstoy, moral life . To quote Nabokov: "The Tolstoyan formula is: Ivan lived a bad life and since the bad life is nothing but the death of the soul, then Ivan lived a living death; and since beyond death is God's living light, then Ivan died into a new life- Life with a capital L."(Nabokov, Vladimir Vladimirovich: Lectures On Russain Literature pg.237: Harcourt Edition)
  • (4/5)
    Very well written novella by Tolstoy. I was worried after "Anna Karenina" Tolstoy might have lost his way as he became older. However this was much more like the Tolstoy I remember from "War and Peace". A very affecting study of one man's life and death.
  • (5/5)
    The thoughts and feelings of a man towards his family and those around him as he gets progressively more ill and is then dying from a wasting disease that sounds like cancer. The opening chapters are quite light-hearted with some ruefully amusing reflections on marriage and attitudes towards ones career, but then the mood becomes much darker and he ends being cynical about his family, seeing them as wishing his death to come sooner so they can be free of the burden of caring for him. A short story but one with a lot to say about the human condition and by no means necessarily tied to its Russian background.
  • (4/5)
    Ivan Ilyich Golovin is a lawyer and is used to exercising his authority in all technical, proprietary matters of the law when hearing witnesses or defendants in court. His marriage is no longer a happy one, and he avoids familial situations whenever they interfere with his interests. One day, while remodeling his new St. Petersburg apartment before the arrival of his family, he falls from a ladder and sustains a bruise on his side from a window handle. The pain, instead of going away, steadily worsens, and Ivan Ilyich's health deteriorates. The doctors can bring no useful insight, and all around him either insist he'll soon be better or think to themselves that at least it isn't them. Ivan Ilyich, left alone in his repulsive sickness, comes to a realization of the falseness of his life and the lives of everyone he knows. He tries to come to terms with Death and to be prepared when it comes. This book (novella) (story) is not much more than a hundred pages, and is a compelling meditation on death. As we would expect from Tolstoy, however, it is also a criticism of the falseness of society at the time, who refuse to recognize death, but keep on leading their empty lives. In this way it serves as a gentle cautionary tale, provoking the reader to reflect on the state of his own life, to ask himself by what principles he lives, and would he be ready if called to meet Death himself.
  • (5/5)
    a good story of a dying man. good introduction
  • (5/5)
    Two spoilers: Ivan dies, and this book is great.
  • (3/5)
    I spotted this on a friend's shelf, borrowed it, and read it in an afternoon. I found it to be an interesting - and arrestingly short - contemplation of the end of life and life's worth/value. The introduction was extremely helpful in understanding the context of Tolstoy's complete antithesis regard for life in comparison with his character. I'm not exactly sure why this stands out for historians as a unique book of its kind, as the introduction reveals and reminds that other such literature exists, perhaps better. A good first experience with the author nonetheless.
  • (5/5)
    This was one of my favorite stories of all time in 1999. I read it over and over again, thinking it contained and could reveal all the wisdom in the world.
  • (4/5)
    This classic novella was chosen by my university as their pick for The Big Read- a national reading event in North America sponsored by grants from the Nation Endowment for the Arts. Additionally, it was my first real essay into Russian literature. The novella begins, aptly, with the death of Ivan Ilyich, a 45 year old judge in St. Petersburg. His coworkers receive the news, and though they seem to be saddened by the event they also are very concerned over who will get promoted to where in order to fill Ivan's vacancy. One close friend of Ivan's, Peter, drags himself reluctantly to the funeral, only to be grilled by the not-so-grieving widow over Ivan's pension. He finally escapes, and wanders off to play bridge and rid his mind of the death.After briefly covering his death, the story turns to Ivan's life, which it terms as most simple...and most horrifying. We learn that Ivan skimmed through most of his life in a fairly ordinary way: grow up, go to school, have father set up a career, sow some wild oats, find a girl, marry, raise a family, get promoted, buy a house, decorate the house. It is decorating the house in fact that starts the grim chain of events. In trying to show the drapier how to hang curtains, Ivan slips off the ladder and bumps his side against a knob. Seemingly no real harm is done, just a small bruise.Yet that bruise leads him to his death. First he can't taste and enjoy food, then he can't focus on playing cards. Doctor after doctor try various treatments, but all for naught. He steadily declines, becoming more and more angry, frightened, and unreasonable. As the end draws near, he begins screaming- three days and nights he screams.Finally, he has two hours left to live. He stops screaming, stops fighting, and faces his death. it is in this moment that he finally finds peace- perhaps for the first time in his life. He thinks back and sees that his life was not all that it could or should have been, but he knows he can rectify that. Looking at those around him, he sees the pain that his illness is causing them. As he sees this, he realizes that his pain is hard to feel, that it is no longer dominating his mind and soul. He can no longer see death, and instead Ivan sees the joy and light ahead of him- and so he dies.I really enjoyed the story. Tolstoy masterfully begins by putting you in no doubt of the end so the focus is completely on the journey to death. It is undeniably depressing, but the end has a beauty and serenity to it that justifies the whole novella.
  • (4/5)
    Think over whether you live the life that you want to live or simply do the "correct" things unquestionably.
  • (5/5)
    This is my first venture into the land of Tolstoy. As with Camus, I was intimidated by the name 'Tolstoy' and, as with Camus, this should never have been so. The Death of Ivan Ilych is a rather poignant, striking novella written following a time where it is said Tolstoy went through a religious conversion. The book provokes thoughts around mortality and provides us with a harsh lesson in 'live life well'.Despite the book title, the story focusses upon the life which Ivan Ilych felt he had lived and the process of dying he goes through rather than the death itself. It is striking, emotive and, at times, frighteningly remorseful. It's that 3am in the morning kind of stuff. If you're the kind of person who lies in bed agonising over your mortality, that funny twitch in your arm, pain in your chest or asking yourself "Why is John's car far superior to mine?" "Is the cat ill running around like that or just being a cat?" then the themes running through this wonderful novella will certainly chime.Ivan Ilych is a well-respected judge who receives an unspecified diagnosis but deduces that he is terminally ill. As his condition deteriorates, we witness Ivan Ilych struggling to come to terms with his condition and the fact that he is dying. He begins to look back on his life with some sadness and regret."Lately in that loneliness in which he found himself....in these late days of horrific loneliness Ivan Ilych lived only by his memories of the past. One after another he imagined scenes from his life. He would always begin with the most recent and proceed to the earliest, to his childhood, and settle there." p.92Such memories proved painful to bear. On looking back through his life, Ivan Ilych realises that as he grew older, more removed from the innocence of childhood, as the worries of life, his career and family took hold, the more superficial and shallow his life had become."...the further back he looked, the more life there had been in him; both the more sweetness to life, and the more of life itself....There had been one point of light far back at the start of everything, and ever since everything had gotten blacker and blacker, and moved quicker and quicker." p.93Ivan Ilych starts to look on his friends, colleagues and wife with the same feelings of bitterness, regret and hate which he has for life and himself. The only moments of tenderness and understanding he finds are in Gerasim, the butler's assistant, who is able to emphasise and understand his needs as Ivan Ilych views others around him as looking inwards to their own needs."His marriage...so accidental, and such a disappointment, with his wife's bad breath, and her sensuality, and their hypocrisy. His moribound professional life, the obession with money...The further on in years the more deadening it became. In perfectly measured steps I went downhill imagining I was on my way up.... In public opinion I was on my way up, and the whole time my life was slipping away from under me....and now it's all over, and it's time to die."p.88The inevitability of death pervades the book and feeds into this readers mortality. As Ivan Ilych struggles to come to terms with his life, dying and death so the reader is also carried along and forced to ask questions of his/her own mortality and life. The fact that Ivan Ilych is terminally ill is, for want of a better word, irrelevant. Death is inevitable - we are all dying, we will all face death and this is the only thing we can be sure about in life. The important lesson we should learn is how to spend our time wisely as we move towards this inevitability.I'm so glad that this is my first experience of reading Tolstoy. It's a quick, compelling read with so much feeling and emotion packed into the 104 pages of this edition. It is without doubt a fantastic masterclass in writing where we are witness to emotions being laid bare for all to see.
  • (4/5)
    A brilliant short work. He captured the psychology of a dying man and those around him with a great deal of thoroughness. The end of Illych had him questioning so many of the silly societal mores which he had self-imposed, but in the end, his resignation to the peaceful pull of death put the angst behind him. Wonderfully written.
  • (5/5)
    In this short novella Tolstoy ingeniously unmasks the raw emotions and the puzzled lamentations of one Ivan Ilyich, a typical personage of his time, as he lies dying while suffering physical and mental agony (the latter being as excruciating as the former), trying to grasp the seeming "unfairness" of his position and finally arriving at some startling realizations about his life. The surrounding characters come under harsh light as they hover around the dying man and reveal their most unattractive human traits, and Ivan Ilyich is finally able to see through the veil of human hypocrisy. Not an upbeat story in the least. But one with a pretty clever insight into human nature. It also does point to the unrelenting frailty of life.
  • (3/5)
    Until the nature of his injury makes itself known Ivan Ilych ambles through life, succeeding in both his career and personal life (at least he keeps up the facade of success in those realms). Yet Ivan Ilych never exhibits any passion, nor does he examine the path he has taken and where it might lead.

    When a foolish accident brings home his own mortality, however, Ivan Ilych is forced to consider all the things he had taken for granted before. His unhappy marriage, his career that he sometimes enjoyed but largely performed for the sake of a salary and social advancement, and his life in general where he never stood for or against anything, all provide grist for Ivan's tormented mind. The nature of life and the inevitability of death spur in Ivan thoughts about dying for the first time. Tolstoy gives us a dying man who is bitter that everyone else is continuing their lives as if "the world was going on as usual." Of course, to everyone except the dying man, it is. He gives us a man who always thought of himself as death's exception. Everyone has probably done something similar, at least at times, because that thought is so much easier to grasp compared to the idea that we are mortal and will be dead someday, our consciousness ending like a candle being snuffed. He gives us a man railing against the cruelty of God while simultaneously railing against God's absence. Finally Tolstoy lets Ivan Ilych begin to examine his own life, and as he does so he realizes that his moments of purest happiness were during childhood, and since then his life has been one big death-spiral, before giving Ivan a moment of forgiveness and what I interpret as divine absolution.

    Tolstoy in this book tells what I imagine is a universal tale of a person trying to reconcile themselves with his or her own mortality. We probably have all had the thoughts that go through Ivan's head in our own head at some point in our lives- if anything Ivan Ilych thinks about hasn't occurred to you in at least a general sense before then you probably don't spend much time thinking- but Tolstoy presents these thoughts well. That being said, his writing did not spur any realization about life or death that I didn't have before I began the book. Maybe I contemplate my own mortality more than most people do? I think that, despite the lack of new insight, the book could have been great if the scenes of Iva Ilych's terror and suffering were portrayed with great prose that made the scenes depicted viscerally striking. I didn't find the prose to be particularly impressive, unfortunately, though that may be the fault of the Maude translation. I also thought the ending was a bit of a cop-out, at least if you interpret the ending as his soul receiving forgiveness, as it undercuts the fear of death and the ensuing nothingness that was such an integral part of the story up until that point. I hope Tolstoy really believed in such forgiveness, and didn't include it so as to give a more uplifting ending, because the story would have been better off without it.

    If you've never really thought about death, it's worth reading a book that contemplates such a thing. There are plenty to choose from: Death Comes for the Archbishop, Gilead, The Tartar Steppe, or Hamlet just to name a few (death is hardly a rare theme). Still, The Death of Ivan Ilych stands out as perhaps the work most focused on death. Choose it if that sounds appealing to you.
  • (4/5)
    Disclaimer: This book should not be read the day you find out that your grandfather has passed and you were sent home from work because you were sobbing too hard to be intelligible.

    Even if you've already finished half of it and there's not much left.

    Even if the first chapter, with work acquaintance friends discussing the death, then one showing up to the house to pay his respects, only to feel disaffected and take off for a card game, is actually pretty darkly funny.

    Even if what you've read since then has been a pretty matter-of-fact discussion of Ivan's career and life so far, and hasn't really been sad at all.

    Because when the turn comes, with the mysterious illness and the search for a diagnosis and the slow decline at home and the alienation from all those who are well and do not understand, who want to go on with their concerns of life and the living...

    Well, it's best to put the book down and come back to it in a few days. Go cuddle with the kids on the couch.

    Called a masterpiece on death and dying.

    I concur.
  • (5/5)
    Nice. Very nice short story. A lot of self-reflection, which is right up my street, as it were.
  • (4/5)
    This is the story of the life and - as the title indicates - the death of an ordinary man. Ivan Ilych is not a particularly likeable character, nor are his wife and children, nor the colleagues who also appear in the narrative. And yet, the story of Ivan's death is powerful and moving, simply but exquisitely told. Ivan's anger, his fear, his resentment are all unflinchingly described.

    I've spent the past few months acutely aware of mortality. A close friend died suddenly a few months ago. Two other women I know well have inoperable cancer. My mother is frail and elderly and every time I see her I know I may never see her alive again. That sense of being surrounded by death in life is something that all of us face as we age.

    Talking about dying and death is not something we do much of in our society, even though it is something which occurs every moment of every day. Reading this book, as short as it is, brings the reader face to face with that perience. No matter how ordinary a person, no matter how ordinary their life, each death is unique - an extraordinary experience for the person concerned.

    This is not easy reading, but it is something to read and remember.
  • (4/5)
    Word I wasn't expecting to read in this bleak masterpiece: pasties. (Hugh Alpin translator, UK's Hesperus Press)
  • (4/5)
    This is why Tolstoy is one of the greats. Because his work reads on multiple levels, and because his characters are never caricatures just there to hold a spear or prop up some scenery.

    On one level this is the story of the life and death of a not particularly likeable functionary. On another its an indictment of a particular society in a particular time, in which isolation from and indifference to others are the price of privilege and comfort and how a man loses himself in that devil's bargain. On another its a story of how we all tend to lose sight of the important things in life in the process of living it. On another it is the story of how even a not particularly likeable functionary is still a human being, with the fears and feelings and loves and losses that we all share as part of our common humanity.

    So much going on in such a small space.
  • (4/5)
    I wish I'd gotten one of the many collections of Tolstoy's novellas rather than just The Death... I would recommend you do so yourself if you're interested in this great Russian writer.
  • (4/5)
    Normally a book that looks this closely at death would, I'm afraid, terrify me. I have enough anxiety already, I don't need to think about the "dragging pain" in Ivan Ilyich's side, which -- being a doctor's daughter -- I could diagnose fairly easily as some kind of cancer, quite probably cancer of the gallbladder. That "dragging pain" is the giveaway to me, because it was in all the descriptions of the sort of pain cancer of the gallbladder causes. I know all about that because of the anxious period before I was diagnosed with gallstones. Anyway, it occurs to me that because Tolstoy never uses a specific word, never tells you specifically what is wrong with Ivan -- in fact, Ivan himself never knows -- it can be whatever you fear. For me, cancer is the obvious one.

    And okay, yes, this book did terrify me a bit, but I think in the way that it would terrify anybody. Imagining lying at the point of death and questioning if your life was of any use, if you did anything that really made you happy, if you did anything that really made you satisfied...

    This is nothing like Tolstoy's other books. There's a narrow focus on a single character, and -- in this translation at least -- the words are simple and directly to the point. Tolstoy's gift for a slightly satirical tone is in evidence. Ivan is not a particularly good man, but he's very much an everyman -- you will see yourself in Ivan, unless you really do have an ego so big you can't even be brought to imagine facing your own death.
  • (5/5)
    Oh non-Gothic, gothic horror. Oh sweaty relief. (ew)

    I wish I'd been a writing sort in high school--the books I read then were arguably more interesting than the ones I read now, brief Michael Crichton preoccupation excepted.
  • (2/5)
    this book was supposed to be a bout a man's review of his life and his relationship with God. At the end of the book I was still wondering what he'd really learned from all of this. There was no grand revelation for me. I do think he realized what his family should have meant to him, but other than that there was nothing. I was very disappointed and wonder what I was supposed to get from the book.
  • (4/5)
    I was fascinated by the timelessness of this story about a superficial man whose "life flowed pleasantly" until he was struck down by a terminal illness. I kept thinking...isn't this how many people live today? We are absorbed in keeping up appearances and advancing our careers while our very souls wither away.Tolstoy brilliantly portrays the anatomy of an illness through which Ivan tortuously ricochets. While he experiences denial, obsession, withdrawal, anger, self-pity, and all the conflicting stages of a serious disease, his family and friends consider the "invisible It" as an intrusion on their well-ordered lives. Although his spiritual anguish is finally relieved in a deathbed revelation, maybe Tolstoy's readers can learn the lesson of examining our lives and making changes before we reach the ultimate finality of death.
  • (3/5)
    Blow by blow account of the thoughts of Ivan Ilych as he lays dying, wallowing in his own misery and self-pity and ruminating over the meaningless of his life. As usual, I can't really get inside the Russian mindset, and the only really effective parts of the book for me are some of Tolstoy's observations about home decorating (seriously). I'm sure I will think about this from time to time, however; and when I find my self on MY death bed, I won't be reading Tolstoy.